drriftwood (drriftwood) wrote,

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A little bit of coconut milk

I needed to cook something really quickly for dinner yesterday and thought I'd make a Rajma Sabji (A north Indian curry made using kidney beans, onions and various other spices) which among many other Indian dishes takes me relatively less time to make..However, owing to the fact that at one time I had increased the frequency with which I used to make this, coupled with my using some strange brand of organic kidney beans on more than one of those ocassions, S rarely looks forward to dinner when there is Rajma on the menu..

So, each time I make this, I try to give it a little twist to tempt his palatte.
This time, I remembered that I had a wee bit (a little more than a tablespoon)of coconut milk in my refrigerator and amidst protests from S I decided resolutely to use it. And since I was adding coconut milk I went ahead and added some other spices that I thought would 'go' with it. Now, if you are familiar with Indian cooking you will know what a sea of difference there is between North Indian and South Indian cooking. Coconut milk is used mainly in South Indian Cuisine, especially in dishes belonging to coastal regions of the country (like Kerala and Goa). So I was slightly apprehensive about the result. But...
I quite liked how it turned out- sort of like a stew . I am posting my recipe below. The measurements are kind of approximate.

You will need:

Kidney Beans-I used 2 cans
Corriander powder - 4 tsps
Cumin Powder - 2 tsps
1 large onion - chopped
1 large tomato - chopped
coconut milk - 2 Tbsp (you can experiment with more or less)
salt - to taste

For the seasoning/tempering:
oil (I used canola)
panch phoron - 1 tbsp( a Bengali seasoning mix - containing fenugreek ,nigella ,mustard and fennel seeds etc and found in Indian markets) You can alternatively also use Cumin/Jeera seeds
Cinammon stick -1
Clove - 2 or 3
Star Anise -1
Kasuri Methi (dried fenugreek leaves - optional)
Turmeric- a pinch
3 green chillies (more or less depending on taste) - slit and chopped

How To:

1. Wash the kidney beans thoroughly
2. In a pan heat a little oil(maybe a tbsp) and add the panch phoron
3. Add the cinammon stick, clove and star anise (Since I used these as an after thought I added them after I had cooked the onions- but this is the 'correct' time to add them)..Fry for a min or so till you can smell the fragrant spices
4. Add the Kasuri Methi and half the green chillies
5. Add the onions and fry till translucent adding the corriander and cumin powder sometime in between (that doesn't sound very helpful does it..:))..Ok, then add the onions and the powders and then let the onions cook till translucent..Smell the onions before and after you add the powdered spices..(hmmm)
6. Add the coconut milk and then the tomatoes.Cook till the tomatoes get squishy
7. Add the Kidney beans and 2 cups of water and add the remaining green chillies
8. Keep on medium heat till gravy thickens (10 mins) then add salt.
9. Let it simmer on low for a few minutes (till the beans have absorbed the spices)
Rajma done! Can be eaten with rice or bread (preferably Indian or Persian bread). It tastes even better the next day!

I tried a variation of this today with canned chickpeas and milk(skim) instead of coconut milk..It was nice (though I had to add a little more corriander powder and a spoonful of black salt) but I think coconut milk brings out the cinammon and clove flavor beautifully whereas with today's variation the other spices(corriander,cumin)seemed to stand out.

Do let me know if you try this recipe..I'd love to know if the instructions were clear enough..:)
Tags: cooking, food, recipe

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